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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Curry raises excellent points regarding Gov. Rell budget proposal

Bingo!! Give Bil Curry the big prize for his analysis (take sepcial note of the items I highlighted in bold).
...Rell's plan isn't property-tax reform. To pay for repealing the car tax, she repeals the property-tax credit, thus raising taxes on homes. Some break. Knowing what we do about climate change and cities, do we really want to make it easier to own a car and harder to own a home?

Democrats think doing Rell's plan means sacrificing health care reform. One of their plans raises health care spending $450 million. Besides raising taxes, Rell pays for her plan by cutting, of all things, health care. Democrats fear she's digging them a deep hole.

Democrats don't see the money for health care and property-tax reform this year, and not within the present spending cap. How do we afford later what we can't afford now? If we don't change systems, whichever reform we do first will be the only one we ever do.

Tackling property-tax and health care reform together makes sense. Health care's the biggest item in state budgets, as education is in local budgets, which, if you haven't heard, are financed mostly by property taxes. To address either, legislators must cut costs and define "spending" under the constitutional cap.

I've argued for opening up the state employee health care plan to small businesses and the self-employed. Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards recently proposed doing it at the federal level. He'll do well. People are desperate to fix a system whose waste and inefficiency are literally killing them.

The idea costs taxpayers nothing;
the state's but a broker lending its clout to small buyers. It gives government a chance to show what it can do, in contrast to a dying employer-based system. In the end, it will lead to lower costs for everyone, government included. If not, it will die.

To do it right, we must do it all: property-tax relief, a better bargain on health care, an honest spending cap. Want to end isolation of schoolchildren by race and class? Fix the tax that's strangling cities and towns. Want health care for all? Stop wasting a fortune on overhead. Want to fix the spending cap? Cut costs and cut taxes and the public will consider it.
Well said.